Maintenance and safety are of great importance in keeping and preserving equipment and the facility in a functional state.

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Maintenance is not only necessary to ensure the reliability of technical structures or productivity of the company, but regular maintenance has an important role in providing safer and healthier working conditions. Lack of maintenance, or inadequate maintenance, can cause serious and deadly accidents or health problems.

The maintenance function is evolving from being after-the-fact, to planned, to predictive, to self-fixing. Developments in operational sensor technologies, combined with advances in information technologies including virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR), cloud-based platforms and analytics, are helping to provide real-time data on performance levels and help to outline predictive or scheduled maintenance without losing equipment efficiency.

Types of Maintenance

Corrective Maintenance: Corrective maintenance is performed to identify, isolate and rectify faults, so that the failed equipment, machine or asset can be restored to an operational condition within the tolerances or limits established for normal operations.

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Maintenance & Safety product selection guide

Thermal Imaging

Thermal Imaging technology has changed dramatically over the years. Thermal imagers are now more affordable, portable and accessible than ever before. A thermal imaging camera detects the intensity of radiation in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum and converts it to a visible image. Thermography is indispensable when it comes to non-contact detection of thermal differences.

Unlike regular digital cameras, which capture images of the visible light reflected by objects, thermal cameras create pictures by measuring infrared energy, or heat. The thermal camera then assigns colours based on the temperature differences it measures. In a “radiometric” imager, each pixel of colour on the screen indicates a specific temperature. Thermal cameras read the surface temperature of objects and can detect surfaces that don’t emit thermal energy equally well. Emissivity is the material property that describes the efficiency with which an object radiates, or emits, heat.

Thermography’s role has become more and more critical in electrical and mechanical equipment, industrial processes, building diagnostics and research and development. As thermal imagers evolve, features such as auto and manual focus, smart and rechargeable batteries and higher resolution are becoming the norm. Innovation in wireless testing, software, data logging and connections with smartphone applications makes thermal imaging an excellent option for maintenance applications.

If the status of components can be identified before any failure, corrective measures can be taken in advance which will help in improved productivity. Thermal imaging cameras are the perfect tool for predicting failures because they make the invisible visible.

There are many variants of thermal imagers to choose from. Some factors to consider, when deciding what kind of imager best fits your business model, are Radiometric, Thermal (temperature) sensitivity and Pixel resolution. Infrared (IR) thermometers are reliable and very for single spot temperature readings, but, for scanning large areas or components, thermal imaging cameras are the best option. It’s easy to miss critical components that may be near failure and need repair, so thermal imaging cameras can be used to prevent this.

Thermal imaging is a technology that will not only change our lives, but it will save lives as well.

Electrical Testing

Electrical testing is a process of inspection that covers many different areas of the electrical system, such as medical, industrial and automotive, using various testing equipment, such as a Digital Multi-Meter, CRO, Clamp Meter, Insulation tester, etc. These testing tools are used to measure different electrical parameters, such as AC/ DC voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, frequency, continuity, insulation, etc. In an electrical system, regular insulation resistance testing is highly recommended to avoid electrical shocks and ensure safety, which reduces downtime. It helps to check the corrosion of insulation and repair works, s vacuum cleaning, steam cleaning and rewinding can be scheduled. Excessive heat or cold, moisture, corrosive vapours, oil, vibration, aging and nicked wiring are the primary causes of insulation failure. The equipment necessary for insulation resistance tests are a megohmmeter, temperature indicator and humidity meter. The total current in the body of the insulation is the sum of capacitance charging current, absorption current and leakage or conduction current.

Electrical testing confirms that different parts of the system and its features are working correctly. It assures a safe environment free from unnecessary risks. A well planned electrical preventive maintenance schedule can reduce accidents, saves lives and minimize costly breakdowns. Impending troubles can be identified and solved before they become significant problems which may require more expensive, time-consuming solutions.

Electrical safety testing of different testing equipment is essential for safe operating standards which uses electricity. There are various agencies which have established strict requirements for electrical products. It is compulsory for an electrical product to conform to certain safety standards laid down by safety and official agencies, such as UL, CE, VDE, CSA, BSI, CCC, etc. The product must pass safety tests, such as High Voltage test Insulation Resistance test, Ground Continuity test and Leakage Current test. Here we discuss some of the common mistakes while performing electrical measurement with a Multi-Meter. We should not replace the original fuse with a locally made or cheaper one because it will change the safety standards of the Multi-Meter. It should be replaced with an authorized fuse. We should not use a bit of wire or metal to get around the fuse. We should use the appropriate Multi-Meter as per measurement work.

Hand & Power Tools

Manually powered, or hand-powered tools include everything from pliers, screwdrivers, wire strippers, hex key sets to wrenches. Maintenance and repair works can require hand and power tools. The misuse and improper maintenance of hand tools can create hazards. For example, if a chisel is used as a screwdriver, the tip of the chisel may break and fly off and hit the user. If a wooden handle is loose, on a tool such as a hammer, the head may fly off and strike the user. Therefore, while using hand tools, appropriate protective equipment, such as gloves and goggles, should be worn to protect against hazards. Hand-held power tools can also produce large amounts of noise and vibration and can, without hearing protection, over an extended period, put a person at risk. Therefore, it is strongly recommended hearing protection is worn while using the kinds of power tools which generate noise louder than 85dB.

The majority of power tools use electric motors. They can also use internal combustion engines and compressed air. The exposed moving parts of power tools, such as shafts, pulleys, sprockets, gears must be guarded. Hand and power tools are used in industry, construction, garden, housework tasks like cooking, cleaning, for purposes of driving (fasteners), drilling, cutting, shaping, sanding, grinding, routing, polishing, painting, heating and more.

Power tools can be classified as either stationary or portable, where portable means hand-held. Portable power tools have the advantage in mobility. Stationary power tools, however, have advantages in speed and accuracy. Stationary power tools, which are used for metal work, are usually called machine tools.

ESD Protection

Electronic components are susceptible to damage from low voltage ESD events. Many electronic components may become damaged by when exposed to ESD as low as 10 volts. Whether you’re handling, storing, transporting, or installing static sensitive components, it is essential that measures are put in place to prevent an ESD event from damaging static sensitive components. ESD damage to components is invisible to the naked eye, so there’s no way of knowing that an ESD event has damaged your device which could cause the entire system that it’s installed in to fail. Precautions should be made to ensure you, your equipment, and your work area are all grounded to prevent ESD damage to sensitive components and devices.

ESD risks may come in two different forms

Latent Defect: Component partially damaged but passes inspection. Component will continue to perform as normal but may eventually fail. This can cause more returns, more warranty costs and more irate customers

Catastrophic Failure: Detectable by inspection and actions may be put in place to ensure the device is scrapped before it gets installed or sold

ESD Standard

EN 61340 Part 5-1: Protection of electronic devices from electrostatic phenomena is a widely recognised standard used by most companies when designing and implementing their ESD control plan. When putting together your ESD control plan, it is important to carry out the below actions:

  • Identify ESD Area
  • Identify ESD sensitive items
  • Provide ESD control training
Preventive actions
  • Ground all conductors, including yourself. Ensure wrist straps and foot grounders work by testing them daily
  • Ground cord to common point ground to equipment ground
  • Ground ESD floor mats via a ground cord to equipment ground
  • Neutralise insulators with Ionisers as these cannot be grounded
  • Shield ESD sensitive components when kept outside of the ESD Protected Area (EPA). This may be done by using a Static Shielding Bag or a covered conductive tote box
  • Swap your regular equipment for ESD equipment including ESD smocks and gloves, Antistatic tape, dissipative floor finishes and other ESD equipment used in your work area

Safety

Safety is a state of protection from harmful and unwanted events. It can also be defined as control of known or unknown hazards. Some of the reasons why our workplace safety should be our priority include protection from injury, death, corporate financial loss, property damage, the service and quality of the product, worker productivity and corporate reputation. Some safety standards, such as Safety and Compliance Standards, Safety Signs and Labels, Machine Risk Assessment Standards, Noise Safety Standards, Protective Clothing Standards are put in place to confirm the safety products, process, and activities. Some safety-related control systems are provided for machinery. In the European Union, safety directives and legislation are available as a guide for anyone concerned with machine safety.

The dynamic safety circuits and wide-range safety PLC are developed which gives the innovative ideas in the control and supervision of protection in the safety field. They save on inputs by using a dual safety circuit with one conductor instead of two. There are many other protection devices which can be connected to the same input to maintain the highest level of safety. Using electronic sensors in place of mechanical switches leads to a longer life and hence can be more reliable. They are safer because dynamic safety sensors can be checked 200 times per second. With a Safety PLC, it can be easy to connect and disconnect machinery from a safety viewpoint.

Integrated intelligent safety and modern integrated automation can make plants safer by using integrated safety functionality, which is the detection of a dangerous condition and activation of a mechanism to prevent the effects of the hazardous event. These systems can transmit safety-related data on a separate network which reduces wiring complexity, costs, and training demands. They have deeper visibility of problems and remote diagnostic capabilities.

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